Djibouti takes steps to tackle gender equality in media

Twenty members of the Djibouti Journalists’ Association met this month at a Gender and Media Workshop to discuss the extent to which fair portrayal of women and gender equality is reflected in their media.

“This is an important step for our country,” explains Zeinab Mohammed, journalist and member of the Association.

One year after the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1999, the government of Djibouti appointed a delegate to review and analyze all of Djibouti’s gender-related policies. By 2003, political participation showed signs of improvement introducing, for the first time, the election of seven women into Parliament.

Legislative and other gender equality measures have been building up during the years leading to the landmark challenge that is now attempting to introduce gender-sensitive policies throughout the broadcast and press system. Although a number of initiatives continue to promote the role of women in Djiboutian society, many measures have not applied to the media sector.

“This is why gender equality in the media is a priority area for the association,” said Zeinab Mohamed, “A lot still needs to be done in terms of gender equality."

Djibouti is characterized by a state-owned radio and television station, Radiodiffusion-Television de Djibouti (RTD).  Two newspapers are published in Djibouti, namely Nation (in French) and Al Qarn (in Arabic).  Djibouti also has a news agency, l’Agence djiboutienne   de l’Information which publishes only on the Internet.

Members of the Journalists’ Association concluded that UNESCO’s Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (GSIM) would be used to measure gender equality in content and media operations to promote gender equality and fair gender representation within media organizations and content.

The Association intends to use the results of this research based project to expand its fields of action and promote gender equality and empowerment of women in and through the media.